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The Lament of Anne Hathaway

Updated on April 18, 2014
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare | Source

William Shakespeare bequeathed to his wife Anne Hathaway, his second best bed.




The Lament of Anne Hathaway.


William, my dear,

I fear, my mind

and my heart have admitted

impediment.


What base notion possessed thee,

to bequeath to me

your dutiful wife,

your second best bed?

and worse,

no sweet words of farewell to recall.

(Perhaps the unkindest cut of all.)


I note your quote,

‘A young man married is a man that’s marred.’

Was our marriage a calamity?

Did I beg you to marry me?

Where strayed your honesty

the good fellowship in thee?


After all I’ve done for you William.


I gave you all these years,

Took nothing,

‘What’s in a name?’ you scoffed,

And so I made it clear,

I would remain Anne Hathaway,

And never lapse

Into - Mrs Shakespeare.



I cast back my reasoning.

Who didn’t gripe

when you,

(considering our home,

the place where small experience grows,)

left us - alone

to try your luck in the big smoke?



Did I once remonstrate

when I read you were

comparing someone to a summers day?

And they were more lovely and more temperate

And William,

It wasn’t me was it?


And where were you when the kids had the fever

and the roof needed thatching

and I was in debt?

Hobnobbing with the gentry, that’s where?


You owe me William Shakespeare,

let no lies disguise,

that behind every successful man,

stands a woman, strong and wise.


Here’s the rub,

you knew of love

of Romeo and sweet Juliet,

But me, who taught you to adore,

You turned the key and locked the door


So, now you rest,

your last request -

your bones not be disturbed.


Mortality, I will respect.

From grace I will not fall,

Though, I cannot promise, from this earth,

to not disturb your soul



There is no clear evidence that Anne was disappointed in William's will. William Shakespeare is buried within the chancel of Holy Trinity Church, Stratford on Avon with the following inscription/warning -

Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare,
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blessed be the man that spares these stones,
And cursed be he that moves my bones.

Anne Hathaway is buried alongside him.














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    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      suzettenaples - hello and thank you, pleased you enjoyed my interpretation. I agree, the real story may be completely different. It's fun to ponder and I guess we'll never really know.

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      Hi again Theresa, thank you for your positive comments. Curiosity is the key to writing this (and other pieces) Imagining what was involved within the relationship of William and Anne and connecting with the era. My interpretation. I guess though this sums up much poetry. Thank you again -Maureen

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 3 years ago from Taos, NM

      This is a wonderful poem from Anne Hathaway's perspective. I have to agree with this perspective although we never know what goes on behind closed doors. This is quite clever, imaginative. And unique. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Oh, my! What a grand little poem. And to have constructed it around a single line from a will. Quite amazing. I really enjoyed this. Hope you are having a great week. Blessings. Theresa

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Hello Colin - honoured to have you here on my pages - what a treat. Yes, William and Anne had some ups and downs too! Thank you for your lovely comments and I will indeed check Suzette out - right now. Gabriel, Tiffy, Epi - best wishes from a very cold, chilly down under.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 4 years ago

      You can do it all my friend - from creative writing to investigative journalism and to one of the best cultural tour guides I've ever met and followed. I sincerely hope all is well in your life these days and Little Miss Tiffy and Mister Gabriel and I are all fine through life's many ups and downs - I will post with enthusiasm and pride your main bio hubpage on my FB wall for everyone to see and read and I would highly recommend my buddy SUZETTE NAPLES to you ....... if not familiar, please go and check her out and I am sure she will love your hubs as well.

      Sending to you 3 big hugs from the three of us at lake erie time canada 1:06pm on a nice summer's afternoon

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Thank you also thost - appreciate your comments - thank you

    • thost profile image

      thost 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Wonderful work travmaj. Thank you.

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      alison - so happy you stopped by. Pleased you enjoyed William and Anne and approved of it from my perspective. Thanks so much.

    • profile image

      alison reynolds 4 years ago

      Loved this.

      Just perfect and very funny!

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Theater girl - thank you for stopping by and voting for William and Anne it's interesting to imagine what might have been said and thought. Love that era.

    • Theater girl profile image

      Jennifer 4 years ago from New Jersey

      This is fantastic!!!!

      " and william it wasn't me, was it."

      This is my favorite. So brilliant to read and enjoy!

      Voted way up!

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Thank you very much - Anne and William are reciprocating - I wish Michelle - wouldn't it be fun to know the 'real' story. They would sure hit the headlines in this era.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Coming in again to say hello to Anne and William, and to share this poem!

    • mizjo profile image

      mizjo 4 years ago from New York City, NY

      'Poetic licence' doth add chili, pepper and salt.

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Thank you again mizjo - yes i did know about the 'second bed' and many theories abound about the will. Can't help but wonder about William and Anne,and the relationship though - fascinating and of course I took poetic license - allowed I think from 2012. Thank you for your comments - enjoyed them.

    • mizjo profile image

      mizjo 4 years ago from New York City, NY

      '....hell hath no fury....' Ha ha , serves him right, the devil.

      But seriously, the 'second best bed' in Elizabethan times actually was the marital bed, so that was a romantic bequest. The best bed used to be for guests.

      Maj, you have a wonderful style, witty and to the point.

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      unknown - hello - and thank you for being here - glad you approved.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Great one! im soo impressed.

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Hi Graham (Albion) Thanks so much for your comment - yes, I guess I wanted to bring Anne's dilemma to life, but maybe she wouldn't see it my way! Hope you're keeping warm in Lancashire!

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Integrity - thank you for stopping by, commenting and your vote. Appreciate it - thanks

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi travmaj. An excellent poem and so true to 'real' life. Thank you.

      Graham.

    • profile image

      IntegrityYes 4 years ago

      That is great and I voted way up!

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Thanks so much Midget - it is intriguing and many theories abound about his bequest. It was also intriguing stepping into Anne's shoes - but of course they are my words centuries later. Hope she'd approve. Thanks for the share also...

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      This was funny!! I suppose in 16th century England that would have been quite an expensive bequest..still, she'd want to come first as his wife!! Thanks for sharing this possible intriguing conflict!! Sharing too!

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Thanks so much Glimmer - really appreciate your stopping by and commenting.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Well done! That was wonderful.

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Tara -was supposed to say it would be an interesting walk in Miss Havishams shoes! Whoops!

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Thanks so much Tara - I'll definitely read - Miss Havisham' shoes - bridal shoes -imagination runs riot-

    • Peanutritious profile image

      Tara Carbery 4 years ago from Cheshire, UK

      Hi again travmaj, If you can, read 'Havisham' by Carol ann Duffy. Brilliant stuff. Tara :)

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Thanks for being here Mhatter - glad you enjoyed a gambit - and some poetic license - cheers and best

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Hi again Valley - I am honoured to have such positive feedback from you - thank you so much. Have to say I didn't write it overnight - it took some time! Now have to do what I set out to do and write travel - poems keep getting in the way - thank you again and for the vote - cheers...

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      SkeetyD - So glad you stopped by - and I'm glad you enjoyed it. No you are not being insensitive at all - that's whats so interesting - how different people respond and view a poem or any piece of writing -thanks again - cheers...

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Peanutritious - good to hear from you - I'm glad you approved- he deserved it! Thank you for the reminder of Carol Ann Duffy - I intend to read her work asap. Thanks for the vote and share also- cheers...

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Jools - thank you - we certainly don't hear much about Anne so I found it interesting responding on her behalf. Hmm Jools - I hope she'd approve!

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Hi kj force - good to hear from you - heee - yes, at least she got a bed and kept her head. (and a nice cottage later from her own family) Thanks for stopping by and commenting - appreciate it. Cheers

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      What a wonderful write! I think you took us through a gambit. Thank you

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      xstatic - thank you for stopping by - I value and appreciate the comments. Very much a fan of the Bard but would love to know more about his private life. So much conjecture so I may as well add to it. Thanks for the votes also.

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      DanaTeresa - thanks for your comments - I agree - it is interesting to view a situation from another persona - although I guess, in the end, it is my interpretaion. Spot on about women scorned - Cheers

    • profile image

      Valleypoet 4 years ago

      Maj...you are back, and the bar has been raised!...this is a simply brilliant poem and narrative....You can take the lady out of England....!! Loved it...up and awesome consider it voted!:-))

    • SkeetyD profile image

      SkeetyD 4 years ago from Barbados

      This was great, genius! My first laugh for the day. Wait, was it supposed to be funny?! I hope it was and that I am not being insensitive.

    • Peanutritious profile image

      Tara Carbery 4 years ago from Cheshire, UK

      Wow! Dripping with bitterness and frankly, wonderful! It reminds me of Carol Ann Duffy, the english poet laureate. You have gained another follower. Voted up and shared!

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      Travmaj, this was fantastic! Anne always was in the background of his life and she deserves this opportunity to be heard :o)

    • kj force profile image

      kjforce 4 years ago from Florida

      travmai...Very well executed..no pun intended..it could be worse , she could have married Henry the V11..Ahhh..what makes the second wife feel what happened to the first will not repeat? Loved your putting the " way of today " touch..

      enjoyed the write...great job as usual ..go girl...lol:)

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      What a great narrative you weave with these words from the Bard's widow. Fascinating to contmplate this personal life of his, when his work left it all ignored.

      Uo & all but funny here!

    • DanaTeresa profile image

      Dana Strang 4 years ago from Ohio

      I adore when Author's give voice to famous figures in ways like this. Great job! What is it they say about a woman scorned? lol :)